An interesting look at town politics on Martha’s Vineyard, but the characters are hard to root for.


A woman returns to her childhood home on Martha’s Vineyard and soon finds herself embroiled in local drama.

Joanna Howes grew up on Martha’s Vineyard but left to become a journalist in New York City. When her uncle, Hank, injures himself, she returns to the Vineyard to care for him. She plans on only staying in town for a short while before returning to her big-city life, job, and boyfriend, but it turns out Hank’s recovery time is longer than she predicted. He isn’t supposed to put weight on his broken leg, so he needs someone to do pretty much everything around his house—and that someone is Joanna. Joanna takes a freelance job at a local newspaper, but the pay isn’t quite enough to cover her expenses, so she starts writing for a competing paper under another name. The problem? The papers are locked in a bitter rivalry, meaning she has to keep each job a secret from the other. This is hard to do on an island where she grew up and knows just about everyone. When wealthy seasonal resident Orion Smith sues the zoning board for the right to land a helicopter on his property, it’s big news that Joanna must cover for both papers. But, of course, yet another problem presents itself: Joanna falls for the wealthy helicopter owner. He doesn’t know about her secret writing identity, and he also doesn’t know that Joanna’s Uncle Hank is on the zoning board. Galland (Stepdog, 2015, etc.) writes lush and convincing descriptions of life on Martha’s Vineyard in the off-season, and her writing brings to life the struggle between the year-rounders and the summer people. However, the drama of Joanna’s duplicity is never as intense as Joanna acts like it is—very few people who discover her secret even care that she has two jobs. Much more conflict is present in Joanna’s relationship with Orion, who’s presented as a charmer. However, he often comes off as a bully, particularly when he discovers that Joanna’s uncle is on the board he’s suing. He threatens her livelihood, insults her with multiple expletives, and never fully apologizes; yet Joanna and, presumably, the reader are supposed to look past his behavior because he had a difficult upbringing.

An interesting look at town politics on Martha’s Vineyard, but the characters are hard to root for.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267285-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...


An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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